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PFA Merit Award winner David Beckham

PFA Merit Award winner, David Beckham

Former England captain David Beckham has received the PFA's Merit award for his contribution to the game at the 44th PFA Awards in London.

It was a brisk sweep of his right boot that kick started David Beckham's journey to global stardom. 

In August 1996, aged 21, he received a short pass from Brian McClair behind the halfway line and floated an audacious shot over the head of the back peddling Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan and into the net. It was a moment of pure impudence and undeniable brilliance.

Before the end of that season, he had scored another 11 goals for Manchester United, made his England debut and collected the PFA Young Player of the Year award. 

David Beckham PFA Merit Award Winner 2017 
David Beckham won the Champions League, 6 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups, 4 Community Shields and the Intercontinental Cup with Manchester United. 

Now 20 years later he is back at the Grosvenor House Hotel to collect the PFA Merit Award. What has occured in the intervening years is nothing short of extraordinary.

At Old Trafford he quickly became the most recognisable of the famed Class of '92. As well as his phenomenal work-rate, set-pieces and crosses were a speciality, delivered with deadly pace, whip and accuracy.

He won the first of his six Premier League titles in 1998/99, helped United retain it in the following year, then it was a trademark Beckham curler from distance at home to Tottenham that helped to clinch it again in 1998/99.

Just 10 days later came the famous victory over Bayern Munich in the Campions League final that sealed a historic treble, with both late United goals coming from Beckham corners.

After three successive title wins, he moved to a Real Madrid team containing Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Carlos and Raul.

David Beckham PFA Merit Award Winner 2017  
Galácticos David Beckham won a La Liga title and two Spanish Super Cups whilst with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

He continued to rub shoulders with the A-list at LA Galaxy and in ensuing spells with AC Milan and PSG.

Beckham is, of course, the stand-out England player of the last 20 years. No-one will forget his curling 30-yard free kick against Greece to rescue the World Cup qualifying campaign in 2001.   

David Beckham PFA Merit Award Winner 2017  
Former England captain David Beckham won 115 caps with the Three Lions and scored 17 goals.

Capped 115 times for England, Beckham played in three World Cups, two European Championships and under seven different England managers.

Even four years on from retirement as a player, Beckham remains a cultural icon with huge commercial influence, a global ambassador for the game, and an inexhaustible charity campaigner.

Although he transcends the role of mere footballing superstar, it's his achievements as a player that command the highest respect and admiration.  

Beckham followes ex-Red Devils team-mate Ryan Giggs in winning the PFA Merit prize. He also received the prize alongside his 'Class of 92' United team-mates in 2013.

David Beckham PFA Merit Award Winner 2017 
Beckham won two MLS Cups whilst with Galaxy. MLS merchandise increased 231% during Beckham's five year stay in Los Angeles. 157 countries televised his final appearance in the MLS Cup Final (which LA Galaxy won). 

David Beckham PFA Merit Award Winner 2017  
Beckham signed a 5 month deal with PSG helping them to win the Ligue 1 title. He donated his entire salary during his time in Paris to a local children's charity.